Thursday, September 28, 2006
Do you feel a little uninspired? sluggish between the ears? Having trouble releasing the genius within? Feeling creatively constipated?
Are you "stuck"?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Patron Saint of Writers Block:
No matter how discouraged you get, be grateful that at least you weren't created for the sole purpose of banging your head against a keyboard.
I do this in honor of National Novel Writing Month, which is hot on our heels, beginning on Wednesday, November 1.
Last year I managed, by the skin of my teeth and on a crazy-ass technicality and with more help than I ever deserved, to actually come up with 50,000 words loosely arranged in what could be called, more or less, a novel, if you really stretch the definition. I mean, the rules were 50,000 words. that's all. Not 50,000 good words, or 50,000 correct words, or 50,000 beautiful words, or 50,000 finely-wrought words of staggering genius elucidating the human condition with an innovative grace and artistry - nope. Just 50,000 plain old words.
So by hook and by crook, so to speak, I made it all the way to 50,000 words. And I'm not much of a finisher, so it felt like something of an accomplishment.
But I haven't actually looked at it since Nov. 30, 2005. It was a lot of work, but I haven't even peeked at so much as one lousy word out of the 50,000 I wrote.
Because of course it sucks. Because it's a festering heap of garbage. Because it's a great majestic soaring tower of shit, only barely disguised as a novel through the sheerest of pretenses. Because if I look at it again my eyes will explode from the sheer thermonuclear craptacularity of it.
Because, of course, I'll never get it! Never! Never! (ke-bannnnnggggg!)
But, even though all I was able to do with it was create a reliable and efficient Random Garbage Generator last time, hope springs eternal, doesn't it. It's a whole new year, a whole new experience. Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away...
So, go light a candle, pray to St. Don Music, dig that letter "Q" out of your eye, and get going!
Be! Creative! B-E Creative! Whoo!
Why do we think we can only write or write well if the Muses are smiling in a very specific set of circumstances? All my headbanging and marinating in my own boohoo has never put a single pixel on the page. The encouragement to be creatively juicy is necesary and appreciated. But I think a good kick in the ass is often in order, too. So pray for nothing. Go write!
i've never done the NaNo thing. never even been inspired to try my hand at any sort of novel mebbe i should give it a go.
The coolest thing about NaNo was that I got this great sense of freedom in the creative process. I mean, for me, the point was not to whomp out War and Peace but just to see if I could actually finish something - anything - I started. And the very fact that it did not have to be perfectly executed and carved in stone, but could stay loose and sloppy and malleable, meant that I could just say what I had to say without being crippled by doubt...at least during the month of November.
You could use that in a screenplay. Give this line to William Hurt and don't forget how I love to travel when you're famous.